ESO – First(ish) impressions

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Wait, is it Easter already? Happy Easter everyone! I hope this holiday’s time is passing in a nice atmosphere for you all, no matter what you believe in.

I got an early Easter gift in a form of my first patron on Patreon and it made me really happy. To celebrate it I didn’t only draw my ESO Dunmer girl chibi being happy but also made 2 drawing process recordings! But this posn’t wasn’t meant to be about it, so I’ll share those some other time.

Easter is of course a religious holiday but no one (at least in Poland) can deny the fact that we also get some free time because of it. And thanks to this free time I’m finally able to write about my first(ish) Elder Scrolls Online impressions.

First of all, let me tell you this, it may be about another game but it’s still relevant: when I started playing Rift I didn’t like it at first and I uninstalled it immediately before even finishing creating a character. Then when I gave it another chance after a few years I didn’t uninstall it straight away but still didn’t like it. The starting zone was all gray and full of zombies (I was playing Guardians faction) but I decided to keep playing because people everyone was saying it was good. And after I left the introductory zone and entered Silverwood I fell in love with the game for years.

That’s why when the same beginning happened to me in ESO I already knew I should keep playing and, as they say, “wait for it”. So like in Rift – I started in this gray area full of zombie-like creatures (the story was already good though, I can’t complain on that!) and zombies is not what I like the most in fantasy MMOs, but hey, it’s got to get better, right? And it did. But I promised myself I won’t write about my first impressions until I finish my first zone – Auridon. Now I finished this zone, plus it’s Easter so I have time to write and in addition there is a Jester event going on in ESO so I got to try it out too.

Jester Festival screenshot from TESO Twitter

First things first – My first-est ESO impression, as you already know, was – “it’s gray and dull (colour-wise)”. I can revise it now and… Well, yes and no. I’m very used to Rift, which has more vibrant colours, and I’ve been playing it for years so naturally ESO looked grayer for me. But after a while of playing ESO it goes the other way – ESO has good colours, more realistic, it’s Rift that’s too colourful. Also, I always thought Guild Wars 2 was more colourful than Rift, that’s why it always seemed more cartoonish too. Now I think they are both on similar level of colourful-ness, but for some reason GW2 still is more cartoonish for me. Maybe it’s the graphic style, I’m not sure. But anyway – ESO doesn’t look too dull for me anymore. Yes, there are areas that could be more colourful and I’d prefer the jesters to be more motley than they are but I’m not complaining anymore, that’s just my personal tastes. I like ESO graphics enough to spam with screenshots on my Twitter actually!

Questing in ESO is the old-school “go there”, “kill that”, “talk to them”. Is it bad? I guess it depends on who you ask. I mentioned in one of the previous posts that I used to complain on such way of questing until I started playing GW2, where you just fill the hearts by doing the same things as in traditional questing, just without having to talk to any NPC at all. And it’s fine, there are fans of it but it’s just not my thing. In addition, I also mentioned it in that linked post, all NPCs you can talk to in ESO are voiced and they actually speak even those short lines that non-quest giving NPCs in games usually have. What started to annoy me is that there are 2 or 3 voices that repeat in most of the NPCs. I understand the budget is always limited and yes, I do prefer better storyline over more voices but still, it’s something that makes me roll my eyes. On a good side – one of those voices is the same voice you could hear everywhere in Skyrim. I could also spot Gideon Emery several times and I do hope I’ll be able to continue my little game of “Spot Gideon” (he voices characters in many games I’ve played and it was always fun to hear his voice… even though I’m not a fan of how he sounds 😉 ).

The voice acting is in general good, you can hear all types of accents (including Khajiit stylization) in the game so it’s really awesome, and it’s important, especially since most of the NPCs are voiced.

The storyline is also interesting so far. I won’t spoil it for you but it involves some power-hungry evil monster-summoning villains trying to trick the gods. Sounds epic, right? Side quests aren’t bad at all either. I mentioned a while ago that one of those side quests made me cry already but there is more emotional quests than that one in ESO. For example an old mother who lost her children asks you to pray on their graves so she could pass in peace. It was heart breaking for me. But don’t worry, if you’re not into emotional stuff you’ll find a lot of quests to your liking too.

Also this one time I was turning the game off I decided to watch a cinematic and… I may be cheap but it bought me, because of reasons 😉

I recommend you watch all the ESO cinematics, they are all amazing and look really impressive. Along with WOW and SWTOR cinematics they are probably the best MMO cinematics out there.

An interesting factor for me in any MMORPG is how it deals with the “MMO” part. And what I mean is how does it place all the players in the storyline. One way is to conveniently “forget” that there are other players, the storyline only concerns your character, period. Another way is somehow acknowledging the existence of all the players as some kind of incomers to the land or just heroes that decided to help with the coming cataclysm. I love it when the story includes all the players and that’s one of the things Rift did well – existence of all the player-controlled characters were explained as either fallen heroes risen back to life to help fighting the evil or future-dead heroes assembled back together, brought to life and sent back in time to help fighting that evil. I believe Black Desert Online mentions a group of missing people (which sounded more like “everyone disappeared”) and after a while your character returns, with that black spirit attached to them, so probably other players are explained to be the rest of that “everyone”. Of course, you still have personal quests that you do on your own, even though there are other heroes there and you are the greatest one and so on (like no one else was doing those quests), but at least the main setting explains existence of all the people around you.

Unfortunately, apparently some of the most popular MMOs that I’ve tried, GW2 and ESO, both are missing this explanation. It’s not a game breaking problem for me, the other players always can be just some adventurers (this is mentioned in ESO, actually), but would be nice if the story included them, somehow, too. But there was no great battle in ESO where almost everyone would die so the story would HAVE to explain where all the other characters came from.

I’ve already said what I thought about ESO music in the comparison post so I’ll just say that after I played the game a little longer nothing has changed – the music is still awesome and I still enjoy it a lot. It’s also still making journeying in Tamriel even more pleasant.

Image from TESO Twitter

Crafting! I always loved crafting and knowing myself – always will. In ESO crafting is enjoyable. You can divide it into 3 categories:

  • Gear crafting
  • Consumables crafting
  • Housing crafting

Gear crafting has 3 standard crafting proffessions typical to any MMO: blacksmithing (heavy armour and metal weapons), woodworking (bows, staves and wooden shields) and clothing (light and medium armour).

Consumables crafting proffessions are not unusual either: Alchemy allows you to craft potions (health, mana, additional boosts) and poisons (the same effects as potions, but negative ones, so for example instead of giving 50 HP they take 50 HP) which you can put on your weapon(s) and by attacking an enemy you’ll both deal the weapon damage and give the poison effect to the enemy. Provisioning lets you craft food and drinks – long (30 minutes+) lasting boosts, mostly improving your health and mana but not only. And at Enchanting stations you can craft glyphs which when put on gear – give additional combat bonuses.

Each gear crafting proffession plus Enchanting additionally lets crafting housing items. It’s done really smart – the clothing proffession allows you to craft cloth items (like beds) or leather items, woodworking – wood furniture, blacksmithing – metal items and since glyphs are made of stone runes – Enchanting allows crafting stone housing items.

All the crafting proffessions are available for free at once, so you can level them all but be warned! Points spent on them are the same points used in combat skills trees so if you want to be efficient in battle you probably wouldn’t want to put all the skill points in crafting… which breaks my heart. I LIKE TO CRAFT! (and I think I’ll write a whole separate post about crafting in ESO).

ESO environment is not only beautiful and nicely designed but also pretty interactive.

Image from the official ESO website.

For example – chests. Who doesn’t like them! They are even more exciting when you have to open them on your own… with lockpicks. It’s different than in Skyrim but it’s still a lot of fun. These chests you can find scattered around all the zones. I think if you loot gear from them its level depends on the level of the person who opened the chest. And since I mentioned lockpicking chests I’ll also add that those “wild” chests aren’t the only things you can lockpick in ESO. You can also lockpick closed doors or merchants’ chests. Or you can pickpocket the owners. So much fun! If you’re seen, depending on your crime, you may be attacked and/or caught by guards that will tell you to pay the fine and give back what you stole. You have a choice of being obediant and give everything back, intimidate them into letting you go or you can run. If you do it though you’ll be a wanted dead or alive. Most probably the first option though. But you can wait for a while avoiding the guards and after some time the reward for your head will go down and at some point it will disappear completely – everyone will forget about your crimes.

Fishing is also nice in ESO. If you see a splashing spot in a river or lake it probably means it’s possible to fish there. You can do it only if you have a bait in your inventory though. I heard depending on a time and place but also on how many players fish in the same fishing spot – you can get better… fish? I’m so curious if you can catch something else besides fish and trash. It wouldn’t be really out of the game character if you could fish some (terrible or epic) gear, would it?

Collecting plants and ore is really fun because neither of them is clearly visible or highlighted and they look like regular flowers that are just part of the land. I keep trying to collect some uncollectible flowers because I think they are some crafting material. Also, what is really interesting (and even thought it’s the smallest thing ever – I love it)  – sometimes from flowers you also get worms or bug parts that you can use as a bait in fishing. I do think it’s really cool.

Anchor screenshot from ZenimaxOnlineStudios YouTube channel

Group events. They are always a big part of MMO. MMO as a genre is about group playing after all. So far I’ve spotted some zone events (Anchors) that are pretty nice because they are deep in the lore and story and usually bring a lot of players. They remind me rifts in… Rift 😉 The main difference is they always open in the same place. The anchors are also fun and you can get good loot from them. And they are very loud when they open so you can always run to them when you’re around. Another zone mini-event I’ve seen is something I’m not sure about but apparently sometimes groups of stronger mobs spawn with mini-bosses somewhere in zones.

Dungeons – these I’ve tried… once. When I first leveled up and dungeons queuing unlocked for me I was really curious about the process – how long will I wait, how the group will be and, what’s the most important thing, how will the dungeon go. And to be honest – I’m not impressed. But it’s not the game’s fault. Starting from the beginning though – I had an option to choose my role (DPS/Heal/Tank) while queing. As usually I’m playing DPS so it wasn’t a hard choice. After queuing I had to wait for a while, it didn’t pop up immediately which i kind of expected but it wasn’t long either (comparing to Rift). When it popped there was a usual “ready” button, which, after clicking, teleported me to the dungeon. And I can’t say much about the dungeon itself because (fortunately or not) I got into some experienced players’ group that just ran through it. I needed some better gear so I was trying to loot “trash” but the group wasn’t waiting for anyone. After  dropped looting and tried chasing my team, I fell into some water, I had no idea how to get out and didn’t even get to the last boss because of it. Killing it by the rest of the team of course counted for me, but still, I’d like to experience the dungeon instead of just running throught it. For the beginning of course, I realise that after several times dungeons tend to get boring. This is also the reason I don’t blame that group I got into.

There is also the thing called Trials and as far as I know, they are just raids. I haven’t tried any so far because I’m just level 24 but I got a nice guild so I may be trying those in the future.

Thieves Guild DLC screenshot from The Elder Scrolls Wiki

Speaking of guilds. Besides the storyline guilds (mages, fighters, etc.) which are all joinable at once, apparently there is a possibility to be part of several players’ guilds at the same time too. I’m not sure how it works yet though – can each your character join a different guild and when you’re online with one of your characters you’re also logged in to all those guilds, or maybe it’s one character that can join several guilds? This feature seems on one hand weird to me and on the other one – pretty nice. But what I actually hate in ESO is marketplace. You can only use the marketplace (where you list your auctions and can buy things from other players) inside the guild. So it means if you want to sell something that only few people would need/want and neither of them is in your guild(s) your best option is to announce it in the general chat. Which I prefer not to do. I really like the “open market” style of selling things so I hope I’m wrong about the marketplace in ESO.

I’m so curious about the PVP in this game, I heard both good and bad things about ESO PVP, so I’m just waiting to get a bit stronger to have any chance against all the OP players. I wander about the maps, the objectvies and if people actually do them. I’d also like to see how the balance works here. I’m a fan of PVP but as long as it’s still FUN. I do know that some people treat it too seriously and even though even I start swearing while PVPing it’s important to remember that it’s supposed to be fun – it’s still just a game.

But so far the PVE community in Elder Scrolls Online seems friendly and helpful. I haven’t seen any trolls so far. I think that might be one of the perks of B2P game. Same goes for hate speech – haven’t seen any.

So, to summarize, so far I do like ESO a lot. Do I love it? Hmmm, not yet, I think. But there is a big chance for it happening in the future. I’ll definitely keep playing this game because it’s really fun and I’m already considering ESO Plus (subscription) since it not only gives you usual MMO subscription bonuses, it also unlocks you all the DLCs, gives you a separate inventory bag for crafting items (and as you already know I love crafting, so my inventory is always full) AND each month you get 1500 crowns to spend on your vanity items in the store. This is really cool, I’d say.

Grahtwood – my current questing zone. Image from Elder Scrolls Wikia

And that’s all for now, I know the post is really long but I still hope someone enjoyed reading it!


  • Cruel

    ESO sounds great but unfortunately,I’m too poor so I’m not able to get it yet. I’m definitely considering on getting it though! How is the community like? Are there separate EU and NA servers? Also how’s the UI like? I know some MMO’s have really bulky and cluttered UIs (I know it’s a weird thing to fixate on but cluttered UIs make me so mad and can deter me from playing a game. Also you seem to like MMOs a lot,why is that? Your own screenshots would also be great in blogposts! Your character is cute.

    • LadyW

      I do recommend to get it, of course depending on what you’re looking for in games 🙂 ESO has sales though and free play weeks to try the game out so be sure to follow TESO twitter to know when such event is happening (atm they are spamming a lot with Summerset, the newest DLC though).
      The community, at least on EU, seems very helpful, friendly and mature. I’ve never seen any trolls and recently I accidently went into a dungeon and a random person carried me through all the bosses and even invited to a very friendly guild too, hostly i was overwhelmed with everyone’s friendlyness 🙂
      EU and NA servers are separate. Unlike with Glyph where you choose your server before starting the game here you first open the game and then choose the region. Of course the DLC you buy carries on to both servers. There are no channels or “shards” like in Rift though.
      The UI is simple, very similar to Skyrim (especially when you turn the controller mode on) and in my opinion it actually looks kind of outdated comparing to other MMOs but at least clear so you should like it. When you run around the zones you only have compass visible and chat when new important messages appear there but it also disappears after a while. Unless you have a possible enemy or another player in the middle of your screen, of course, then you have their HP (and data in case of other players) displayed, too.
      Why do I like MMOs? It’s an interesting question. I started to play them mostly because they usually have lower PC requirements than single player games and I had a terrible old laptop back then but I actually grew to like everything MMOs have to offer – their stories, worlds, crafting and other activities, and, what is the most important in MMOs – interaction with other players. Even though depending on a day I may not talk or interact a lot – I still CAN do it. Plus there are dungeons, raids and PVP which I enjoy a lot. I also like to my trusted guilds.
      Thank you for your suggestion, I definitely will try to add more screenshots of my own 🙂 For now I just don’t have a lot of them because I don’t play ESO for long yet – in comparison, I have several hundred (at least) screenshots from Rift 😉
      Thank you sir, I was trying to make her both badass and cute, the drawing though was just supposed to be cute so I’m glad I succeeded! 🙂
      Thank you for your comment! <3

  • Cruel

    Will do and hope to see you around there when I play? 😉 It’s always nice to have a positive and helpful community because joining and playing an MMO is daunting at first. ( I had somewhat a negative experience with BDO mainly because if you had a legitimate question,they troll you and aren’t helpful at all or the chat is always just talking about weird things like traps or Alienware.) And that sounds comforting to hear. Hopefully I have a positive experience when I do play.
    Oh I’m not really familiar with Rift,I only played it for a few hours. So it’s just one massive channel for the EU people? Hm,sounds nice. I’m so over the cluttered UI of BDO (the constant messages, you can turn it off but to me the UI is still cluttered).
    Hm,I have the same reasoning for liking MMOs like you. It’s like diving into your own world and it’s more like an escape. I always find it hard to find people to connect with though. Unfortunately so I end up feeling so lonely. I do quite enjoy raids and dungeons (which I miss because BDO doesn’t have any dungeons).

    I’ll be looking forward to seeing your own screenshots! Oh I see. How come you didn’t start a blog for your Rift adventures? It would have been fun to see. I’m always interested in people’s adventures and I’m also a screenshot junkie.

    You’re welcome! I look forward to seeing more of your blog posts and also your adventures,may it be on ESO or other games.

    • LadyW

      Sure 🙂
      Yeah it’s true, I’m really glad there is a lot of helpful people in ESO, since the game is not the most intuitive one out there. In any other game raids are just called “raids” instead of “trials” and the events quests you get either authomatically or from NPCs, not from the store, so yeah, I keep asking my guildies silly questions about the game. But it’s still very fun!
      Yes, in ESO you only choose your server/region. Oh and BDO is cluttered with everything, not only its UI, in my opinion. There’s a lot (in many cases – too much) of everything there, ESO is much more quiet, it’s slower and even the colours are toned down in comparison to BDO so it’s more enjoyable to me.
      I mean, that’s true for all the games. And movies/books/shows, to be honest. But in MMO you can also interact and, say, go on an adventure (like raid or dungeon) with your friends. Or if you want even more immersion – there’s always the RP community, in every MMO.
      Well, I never felt a need to do it. At some point I wanted to have a blog-like chronicle of my character, her story, all the collections listed and so on but I just didn’t feel it, maybe I wasn’t ready. But now I don’t only want to write about MMOs, I have other games too, just too little time 🙂 Next month though I plan to write something about Mass Effect Andromeda, and maaaaybe Bastion.
      Yay, thank you! 🙂 I’m hoping to be able to keep writing 🙂

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